Cian O’Connor finishes best of the Irish in Florida

O’Connor comes third in Saturday night’s five-star Grand Prix in Wellington

Cian O’Connor came third in Florida. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Cian O’Connor came third in Florida. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

 

Cian O’Connor finished best of the Irish when third in Saturday night’s five-star Grand Prix in Wellington, Florida.

Over a track designed by Britain’s Kelvin Bywater, only two of the 40 starters progressed to the second round where Israel’s Daniel Bluman, riding Ladriano Z, stopped the clock on 39.43 to better the time of 40.47 set by Switzerland’s Beat Mandli to had been first to jump with Dsarie.

O’Connor narrowly failed to make the jump-off of the $384,000 class having picked up a single time fault in round one with Armin Himmelreich’s Clenur. The 18 hand Oldenburg gelding joined the rider’s Meath-based Karlswood Farm at the start of December and travelled out to Florida with 19 other horses from the yard just before Christmas.

“He’s a very big horse to manoeuvre around,” O’Connor said of the 12-year-old Carinue bay. “The big ring suits him. It’s only the fourth or fifth class that I’ve done with him here. He took a little bit of a wobble down the last line to the water tray vertical. I was clear then, and I just cantered it down. Maybe I could have been a little quicker coming to the third last. I was just over the time (in 73.04), but I’m very happy with my cheque.”

The USA’s Peter Lutz was also clear but just over the time (73.28) in round one to finish fourth with Robin de Ponthual while Britain’s Amanda Derbyshire was fifth having recorded the fastest four-fault round on the Irish Sport Horse mare Luibanta, a 10-year-old by Luidam.

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